Thai ambassador to Malaysia Damrong Kraikruan told Malaysian media yesterday that the Kra Canal “is not a viable project”.

He cited problems over making the project economically viable. Without the ability to make the port deep sea capable, and without the banking and financial support facilities like Singapore, the project is unlikely to be a success even if they attempted it.

Malaysian news reports also quoted the ambassador who cited other construction difficulties with the project: “Seagoing vessels are getting bigger and wider…if they build Kra it has to be at least 20km across.”

International media had recently been interested in the Kra Canal, with some news outlets explicitly linking the project to China’s Belt and Road Initiative and China’s attempts to push Singapore off the world trade map. The Chinese allegedly agreed to kick start the project with a $28 billion investment.

If the plan goes through, Thailand would construct a 135km shipping canal across the narrow Isthmus of Kra so as to link the Pacific and Indian oceans. This will allow vessels to bypass the strategic Malacca Strait and link countries like China and Japan with the Middle East, Europe, Africa and India.

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